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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Ruffin talks LSU, FSU and other favorites

By Radi Nabulsi

ATLANTA -- One of the Peach State’s top cornerbacks recently had a chance to win the Georgia Junior Bowl with a catch in the end zone. The fact that he was playing receiver and not cornerback in a game that boasts 100 of the best players in the state is a testament to why he is coveted by LSU, Florida State, South Carolina and a host of other schools.
Nicholas Ruffin
Nick Ruffin's performance at the Rising Seniors game has increased the interest in the Class of 2014 CB.
With 32 seconds left in the game, Nick Ruffin (Atlanta/St. Pius X) went in at wide receiver for the East squad and sprinted down the sideline to try and catch a pass from Clemson quarterback commit DeShaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville). Ruffin made a one-handed, diving attempt to catch the pass after putting a double move on West team cornerback Lance Austin (Barnesville, Ga./Lamar County). Ruffin stood up with the ball and looked at the referee to signal touchdown but the man in stripes said the ball hit the ground. After the game, in which the West team won 10-7, Ruffin joked that the referee was wrong.

“You can never convince me that I dropped that pass,” Ruffin said. “You will never convince me of that -- no way, I’m sorry. It was just a simple stop and go route. I’m trying to draw that corner up, but he didn’t bite, so I had to try and use my speed to try and get past him. DeShaun threw a perfect ball and I thought I held onto it, but obviously the ref chose a different side of it.”

Ruffin had played most of the game in the secondary for the East squad, but the coaches knew he could be a weapon on offense as well.

“Coach had seen me play offense before and he asked me if I’d be willing to and I said whatever I can do to help the East get its first victory I’ll do it,” Ruffin said. “So he was calling me every other play to jump in at receiver -- sometimes be a decoy or sometimes run a route. With the game on the line he figured, ‘I’ve seen this kid come through big before so let’s see if he does again,’ and he put the game in my hands.”

He was no slouch on defense, either.

“Yeah, I broke up two or three passes during the game. I had a couple of tackles. Overall I had a good game on the defensive side of the ball. It was a struggle defensively to try and keep those dynamic receivers contained. The guy from Cartersville [T.L. Ford] and of course Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) as everyone knows -- a lot of great wide receivers on the other side, but I did well.”

Being able to cover what could be the best receiver in the state has earned Ruffin a number of offers.

“I picked up an offer from LSU, from South Carolina and a couple others I can’t think of off the top of my head, but recruiting is going well,” Ruffin said. “I’m staying in contact with a lot of coaches. Other schools have shown a lot of interest -- Ohio State and Michigan State being two of them. If I had to choose a top group I’d probably say Vanderbilt, LSU, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida State.”

The Seminoles have hosted Ruffin quite often.

“I love it down there and I’ve been to visit a couple times,” Ruffin said. “Talking to Coach [Jimbo] Fisher and the other coaches you can tell they genuinely care about the people who they recruit and I fully expect them to be there a long time. But I genuinely love being on campus and I love being at games, the fans there are out of this world.”

Ruffin also likes the fans at LSU but he has a second reason the Tigers are in his top five.

“I mean, when you hear LSU you think Death Valley -- 100,000 strong -- standing up on Saturday nights and you can’t hear anything and it’s crazy,” Ruffin said. “And of course I have ties to Louisiana. My family’s from Louisiana so going home definitely makes it a big deal for me, makes it hard because I don’t want to choose a school just because it’s home.”

For now Ruffin calls Atlanta home and he has also heard from the in-state Bulldogs.

“I’ve talked to Coach [Scott] Lakatos a couple times and I’ve talked to Coach [Mark] Richt once,” Ruffin said. “I enjoyed my visit. I went when they played Tennessee and I enjoyed my time there. Georgia’s a great place with very, very loyal fans and it’s the SEC, so you can’t go wrong.”